Just like Delta and US Airways, Alaska Airlines will no longer interline baggage on separate tickets (HT: Lucky).
That’s an exceptionally consumer-unfriendly policy change.
If you use Alaska Airlines miles to book a Cathay Pacific award ticket from San Francisco to Hong Kong, but you’re actually starting in Seattle and there’s award space from Seattle to San Francisco so you have to buy that ticket from Alaska, then when you check in at Seattle they will no longer check your bags all the way through — you’ll have to collect the bags in San Francisco and re-check them. All because Alaska Airlines had no award space on the domestic flight and you had to pay them more money to start your international award. Shame, shame.
But against the backdrop of that news yesterday it seems that they have added one feature that’s actually quite consumer friendly.
Alaska will allow you to link reservations that have been made separately.
This is something people ask for a lot, but that in most computer systems has been impossible.
It’s not something I’ve ever worried about, but when I work with award booking clients and find that I have to book award tickets separately out of two different mileage accounts, and as a result clients will have two different reservations, this sometimes raises concerns. People fear that their flights will be cancelled and when an airline automatically rebooks them they’ll be sent on different flights to their destination, or re-accommodated together but not automatically seated together, because the airline doesn’t know they’re flying together.
Here’s how Alaska describes the advantage of ‘linking’ reservations:
Linking reservations can help your trip go more smoothly.
It may help with:
- seating your party together
- reaccommodation in the event you miss your flight or it is canceled
- children traveling with adult companions in a separate reservation
Interestingly it appears that he reservations don’t have to completely match — having some but not all segments in common is sufficient, and passengers can be in separate cabins and still be linked.
This will be of use only to a limited set of folks since it’s linking in Alaska’s systems only, but if Alaska can do it then it’s reasonable to expect and demand that other airlines develop this functionality as well. Of course what’s reasonable and demanded isn’t always what’s developed in this industry, but it’s one more windmill to tilt at, at least!